Which 3PL Associations Should You Join?

Which 3PL Associations Should You Join?

Freight 360 By Freight 360

There’s all kinds of organizations and certifications out there for freight brokers, but which 3pl associations do you really need to be a part of and what do they really do for you? In this blog we’re going to take a look at some of the most common ones out there.

Transportation Intermediaries Association

Let’s start with TIA, or Transportation Intermediaries Association.  This one tops my list of 3pl associations since the benefits of being a TIA member are incredible.  You can learn more about TIA by heading over to their website at www.tianet.org.  As quoted directly from their website, “TIA Is The Trusted Voice For Third-Party Logistic Companies of All Sizes. 

TIA provides leadership and direction for the 3PL industry and professionals to advance professional standards and business practices, to include the overall image and credibility of the profession and its ultimate contribution to society. TIA serves more than 1,700 third-party logistics members and helps them better manage their companies for growth and profitability. No other 3pl association provides more ways for third-party logistics professionals to grow, connect and to protect their business.” 

TIA is the voice of logistics professionals at a national level, and they lobby on behalf of all of us in the industry.  They have various levels of training and coaching for brand new brokers all the way to their advanced Certified Transportation Broker or CTB program.  Additionally, they provide model contracts to their members that have been curated and reviewed by legal experts in our industry.

Blue Book Services

Next is Blue Book Services.  If you work in the produce or lumber industry, this 3pl association is a must-have.  From credit reporting to marketing information on companies, Blue Book Services is the leader in the fresh fruit and produce industry for transportation companies. 

One of the things that I really love about Blue Book is how they add you to their member directory which you can use to your advantage with shippers to quickly gain credibility simply by giving them the ability to vet your company on the Blue Book website.  Their website is also full of news and reports on the produce industry which will help you stay in the know if you’re moving produce.  You can learn more at www.bluebookservices.com


If you do any work in the intermodal space, you’ll want to check the 3pl associations, IANA and UIIA.  IANA is the Intermodal Association of North America and UIIA is the Uniform Intermodal Interchange and Facilities Access Agreement.  Whether you’re dealing with drayage, ports, or railyards, IANA and UIIA are crucial.  The UIIA is part of IANA, and serves as a standard industry interchange contract between intermodal trucking companies and equipment providers such as ocean carriers, railroads & leasing companies. 

With so many ports and rail yards throughout the United States, the UIIA combines all of the contracts and requirements into one bite-size agreement that allows transportation companies to send drivers into the various locations without a hiccup.  You can learn more by checking out www.intermodal.org and www.uiia.org

NASTC Best Broker Program

Let’s look at NASTC. They are not a 3pl association but, the National Association of Small Trucking Companies, or NASTC, established a best brokers program in 1991 to refer quality top-rated freight brokers to their community of small trucking companies.  You can’t just join this program, you’ve got to be invited.  In order to be invited, you’ve got to have an excellent track record of working with small carriers and paying your obligations on-time.  Since small trucking companies make up such a large portion of the market’s truck capacity, this program can give you a leg up against your competition.  Check them out at www.nastc.com to learn more.


Finally, I want to talk about SmartWay which comes from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Also not a 3pl association but, the EPA’s SmartWay program helps companies advance supply chain sustainability by measuring, benchmarking, and improving freight transportation efficiency.  While being a SmartWay partner doesn’t necessarily give you any direct tangible benefits, companies and organizations that work with SmartWay can use the SmartWay brand to show their commitment to building a more sustainable freight supply chain and reducing the impact of freight transportation on climate change.  You can think of this as more so doing the right thing to help shape our future.  You can learn more about SmartWay by checking them out online at www.epa.gov/smartway

There’s plenty of other organizations and certifications out there for freight brokers, but these are some of the most common ones that you’ll run into.

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